Japan-U.S. Aviations Talks: Open Sky Policy Progresses in MOU -US Airlines Not Eager for Additional Flights
Following the Japan-U.S. aviation talks which took place from October 26 to 29 in Tokyo, the U.S. embassy held a media briefing on October 30. John Byerly, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Transport Affairs, who had attended the aviation talks said that he would expect, with cautious optimism, that both countries reach an agreement at the next meeting slated for the beginning of December this year in Washington DC, citing that both parties made further progress in exchanging constructive opinions.
The aviation talks focused on four burning issues: 1) Conclusion of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the full open sky policy 2) Feasibility of approval of ATI (Antitrust Immunity) regarding alliance partnerships between Japanese and US carriers 3) Expansion of late evening and early morning arrival and departure slots slated for October next year at Tokyoâ€™s Haneda Airport for the Japan/U.S. routes and 4) Distribution of landing and take-off slots to be increased at Narita International Airport. â€It is a package deal. No agreement will be made unless all four issues are agreed upon,â€ said Byerly, indicating that it is the position of the U.S. Government.
During the aviation talks, as he explained, there was a significant progress as to the phrasing in the MOU concerning the open sky policy. He added that the US airlines are not eager for additional flights at Narita International Airport even at the time of the planned expansion slated for March 2010. Therefore, the increase of the landing and take-off slots at Narita, he mentioned, would naturally bring the current U.S slot share at Narita down considerably since no additional request would be made by the US carriers. With regards to Tokyoâ€™s Haneda Airport, Byerly mentioned that the late evening and early morning arrival and departure slots, promoted by the Japanese Government, must be coordinated between the two countries in terms of the number of slots available to US airlines. The point is, he stressed, that knowing the number of available slots will be limited due to possible restrictions on the airport infrastructures, such slots must be fairly and equally distributed to ensure fair competition between Japanese and US carriers.
Meanwhile, a Japanese aviation official also said that a positive progress was made during the aviation talks, citing, â€œThere remains only a small difference.â€ Commenting on the MOU, the official said that Japan shared the same understanding with U.S. In terms of the open sky policy, however, â€œdecisions have yet to be madeâ€ on possible restrictions at the Tokyo metropolitan airports in connection with the Japanâ€™s Asia Gateway Initiative. Regarding Japanâ€™s request to correct the imbalance of the departure and arrival slots at Narita International Airport, Japan understands that â€œthe direction is agreedâ€ between the two countries. Japan considers continuing dialogue with U.S. in efforts to properly distribute the available slots according to the size of an airline and gain agreement with U.S. in returning the unused slots at Narita International Airport. On the other hand, Japan is of the opinion that â€œfurther discussion is neededâ€ for the slot distribution at Haneda as a gap in understanding still remains between Japan and U.S.
Source: Travel Vision
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